Get ready for the Manning Cast show tonight on ESPN2 to discuss new New Orleans Saints quarterback Trevor Siemian during the New York Giants-Kansas City Monday Night Football game.
Siemian replaced an injured Jameis Winston at quarterback in the second quarter Sunday and helped lead the Saints to a 37-26 victory over defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay and quarterback Tom Brady. Seimian was a rookie teammate of Peyton Manning with Denver in 2015 when the Broncos won Super Bowl 50. Manning’s brother Eli will join him on the show at 7 p.m. central time.
Winston, who started his first game against his former team that made him the first player chosen in the 2015 NFL Draft, is likely out of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
A seventh round draft choice from Northwestern in 2015, Siemian played one game with Denver in 2015 before starting 24 games in 2016 and ’17 for the Broncos after Manning retired. But then his playing days suddenly ended – until now.
Signed by the Saints last November off Tennessee’s practice squad, Seimian threw his first touchdown pass since 2017 to fullback Alex Armah Jr. to give the Saints a 16-7 lead with 27 seconds to go before halftime before Brian Johnson missed the extra point. It was Armah’s first touchdown since 2019 with Carolina.
Siemian, who had not played since completing 3 of 6 passes for three yards on Sept. 16, 2019 with the New York Jets, looked like a seasoned pro at times. He finished 16-of-29 passing for 159 yards with the touchdown and no interceptions.
“It was fun,” Siemian said. “I think I kind of lost a little sense of how fun it is when you’re out there in a huddle and in the middle of a drive and you score. There’s a joy to this game that you can’t get chasing anything else.”
Siemian is 13-12 as a starter in his career with 24 of those starts in Denver and one with the Jets. He is expected to start his second game over the last four years when the Saints (5-2) host Atlanta (3-4) in an NFC South game Sunday at noon on FOX. Tampa Bay (6-2) remained in first place in the NFC South.
“Your career is never linear. Mine sure hasn’t been,” Siemian said. “I think just bouncing around like I have, you really appreciate the locker room, the guys, and it doesn’t get any better than that.”
The Saints locker room resembled a club with loud music, a smoke machine and dancing. Even Winston hopped around to the music on his one good, right leg while on crutches.
“You look at his face, and he’s dancing and yelling,” Siemian said. “You would have never known he was hurt. That’s just who he is. Hope he gets back sooner than later.”
Siemian dedicated the win to Winston.
“I want to say how gutted I am for Jameis,” he said. “This win is for him. I just feel for the guy and love him so much.”
The Saints may get back its other backup quarterback – Taysom Hill – for the Atlanta game after Hill missed the last two games with a concussion. But he is expected to remain coach Sean Payton’s weapon of versatility at running back and receiver.
“Trevor did a good job,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “He’s one of those guys who is pretty calm. It’s a good trait for him. It was not perfect. There were a number of things that we are going to be able to coach off of the tape on.”
The Saints won their third straight, and defense was key as it was in a 13-10 win at Seattle last Monday night. New Orleans intercepted Brady twice, including the game clincher – a 40-yard pick by free safety P.J. Williams with 1:24 to play for the 36-27 lead.
“I was reading the quarterback, and he took me to the ball,” Williams said. “And I just couldn’t believe he threw it. So, I broke on it and took it the end zone.”
Of Brady’s 17 interceptions in his two regular seasons as a Buc, the Saints have intercepted seven — five in the two New Orleans wins last season before a playoff loss and two this season.
“He (Brady) telegraphed it a little bit, and the DB made a hell of a play. He was forcing one at the the end. That was not characteristic of him,” Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians said.
“I’ve got to play better,” Brady said. “I threw it to the wrong guy. Cost us the game. I have to not throw interceptions.”
Strong safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson also intercepted Brady late in the second quarter and returned it 26 yards to the Bucs’ 35-yard line. Five plays later, Siemian threw the 1-yard touchdown pass to Armah for the 16-7 lead.
Brady also fumbled in the second quarter after a sack by defensive end Cameron Jordan. Defensive tackle David Onyemata, playing in his first game of the season after a six-week suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, recovered for New Orleans at its 37-yard line. Brady was sacked three times.
Siemian completed 4 of 7 passes for 39 yards to the Bucs’ 5-yard line to set up a 23-yard field goal by Johnson for a Saints 10-7 lead.
“I thought that it was an embarrassing display of football,” said Arians, whose team was penalized 11 times for 99 yards to twic for 10 yards by the Saints. “Siemian did a hell of a job winning the game.”
Siemian said he has prepared week after week over the years as if he may play, though he continued not to play for the most part from 2018 on.
“If you don’t, you’re screwed if you do have to play,” he said.
“The hardest thing is to pay attention every week like you’re going to be in that game when you’re No. 2,” Payton said. “You might do that for years before you’re in a game. He was cool at halftime. That’s one of the challenges in being the No. 2 — it’s not just week-to-week. It might be two to three years.”
And now Siemian is No. 1.
“Lucky to be here with the Saints and happy we got the win,” he said. “There’s great leadership, great guys, and it’s just fun to be around. I could not be more thrilled.”